Thesis statement: THE ONLY THING WORTHY OF PANIC BUYING DURING CORONAVIRUS FEAR IS – SAUCE.
A lot of people are hoarding food right now. I don’t blame them, necessarily, but it’s making life a little more miserable than it already was at the supermarket, which is saying very little, considering the supermarket (at peak hours, at least) SUCKS DOT COM.
You can keep your beans and rice and pasta. What I’m after is SAUCE.
If you’re going, “That doesn’t sound too nutritionally dense!” then I’m going, “YUP!”
Listen, next year I’ll have lived in NYC for a decade. And there have been times where I have damn near eaten cardboard to pay the rent! But do you know what helps in those dire situations? SAUCE.
You: DEFINE “SAUCE”.
Me: FINE I WILL.
Sauce is many things. The internet says sauce is a “thick liquid served with food, usually savory dishes, to add moistness and flavor.” (It additionally says sauce can mean alcohol, which I also deem worthy of stockpiling.)
I say sauce, if executed even remotely well, can make even a sneaker taste good.
You can buy it or make it or both, but you need some baseline ingredients either way.
What’s in MY PERSONAL sauce (and/or sauce component) stock at the moment? SOME THINGS, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
- KETCHUP (NO BRAND LOYALTY HERE)
- MUSTARD (MANY KINDS, ALL THE KINDS, DIJON SPICY BROWN GERMAN YELLOW ETC.)
- GOCHUJANG (KOREAN RED PEPPER PASTE)
- SAMBAL OELEK (AKA CHILI PASTE)
- TAPATIO (THE ONLY HOT SAUCE I WILL ACCEPT)
- BOUILLON (CUBED ‘N POWDERED)
- MAPLE SYRUP (ORGANIC WOW FANCY)
- MISO PASTE (ORGANIC AGAIN WOW FANCY)
- CURRY (IN VARIOUS FORMS AND VARIOUS STYLES, INCLUDING JAPANESE ROUX BLOCKS AND THAI RED AND GREEN PASTE AND SEVERAL POWDERS)
- CRUSHED TOMATOES (WITH BASIL!)
- COCONUT MILK (FULL FAT WOW LUXURY!)
- TOMATO PASTE (tomato paste is not exciting)
- ANCHOVY PASTE (SHUT UP IT IS IN LOTS OF THINGS YOU JUST DON’T KNOW)
- PEANUT BUTTER (CRUNCHY, DUH)
- SOY SAUCE AND COCONUT AMINOS (POR QUE NO LOS DOS)
- BBQ SAUCE (V. BASIC BUT ULTIMATELY MVP IF THINGS GET TOUGH)
- BUTTER (ICELANDIC SMJÖR BECAUSE I AM IN CHARGE OF MY 32-YEAR-OLD LIFE)
- OIL (AGAIN, ALL THE KINDS, OLIVE COCONUT SESAME ALGAE ETC.)
- CHEESE (NORWEGIAN BROWN CHEESE AND ALSO GRASS FED CHEDDAR FROM AUSTRALIA)
(You will notice salt, pepper and sugar were omitted from my sauce list because I DON’T EVEN NEED ‘EM ANYMORE, but if you do, feel free to load up on these things as well!)
You do not need all of my personal pantry list combined to make a sauce (although I do wonder what that would taste like, if you just added all 19+ things from my current roster into one big sauce), but if I had to pick my MVPs, sambal, bouillon, maple syrup and miso paste would win out for sure.
(FUN FACT: I once ate only two bags of lentils, four cartons of eggs and one bag of oats for a month (back when I was REAL poor in like 2014), and bouillon, sambal and maple syrup saved my goddamn neck in the taste department. Miso paste is a recent-ish bougier addition to my sauce pantry, but it is incredible and has replaced salt for me in many dishes.)
Obviously you might have a different palate to mine, in which case LIVE YOUR DREAMS, BE YOURSELF!
But seriously, sauce is the only critical thing to stockpile in this whole nonperishable food hoarding situation. My hope is that things will even out, I don’t know, a year (MAX) down the road, but if we DO have to resort to eating the less desirable things (that tinned fish you grabbed on impulse, plain flour, grass…I AM OF IRISH ANCESTRY, I AM ALLOWED TO REFERENCE EATING GRASS DURING HARD TIMES) then having a well-stocked arsenal of potential sauces could mean the difference between “REAL OKAY, MAYBE EVEN LEANING TOWARDS GOOD” or “REAL BAD AND HONESTLY I WOULD RATHER DIE AT THIS POINT”.
So when you think about grabbing that final bag of rice or box of pasta or can of beans off the shelf, first ask yourself, “Do I have the sauce capacity to do this justice? And if not, why not? Should I reexamine my panic buying strategies?”
(In sum, and in response to that last question from your maybe internal monologue, YES, you SHOULD reexamine your panic buying strategies. And please, CALM DOWN.)
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